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  1. Model hard colloids have a great deal of relevance to physics and in particular the study of their phase behavior which can mimic that of simple atomic liquids and solids. "Nearly hard colloidal sphere" suspensions were formulated 35 years ago by the Ottewill group (Univ. of Bristol) and Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd., which were used by Pusey and van Megen in their seminal study of the phase behavior of hard-sphere colloids. We report on our efforts to reproduce and refine this benchmark polymer colloid, including the recent synthesis of hard ellipsoids for random and ordered packing studies in microgravity*. The custom-made samples are composed of linear polymer chains of poly(methyl methacrylate), functionalized with photo-crosslinkable moieties and fluorescent molecules. The resulting ellipsoidal shapes are about 1 micron in size and stabilized with surface-grafted poly(12-hydroxystearic acid) chains. The particles are dispersed in a refractive index matching fluid and particle aspect ratios vary from 1 to 4. * Launched March 2020 aboard SpaceX CRS-20 resupply service mission to the International Space Station. *NASA NNX13AR67G (NYU); NSF GOALI 1832291 (NYU); NSF GOALI 1832260 (NJIT) 
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